Where we discuss MTV's Beloved "Real-Life" Soap Opera

August 25, 1998


This week: The wheat is sifted from the chaff, so to speak.

Well, mes petites chous, all that peace and love the kids found in Nepal is suddenly out the window, without so much as a "I'll call you later." The competition to be an on-air personality on Seattle's New Music Leader is a fierce, take-no-prisoners type of ordeal. You knew it had to be this way, however, when the show opens with the girls marvelling at "the energy" of one of The End's "personalities". Microphones must be flattering accessories, because they make even this pimply shrimp playing a hackneyed "Resurrection Flashback Lunch" seem incredibly original and creative to these starry-eyed maids.

But, zut alors! Not everyone can be a dj; there are only 3 on-air positions and 7 "overachiever" housemates. The remaining four have to be content with working the equipment and producing the show. Losers! So, my dears, these future Johnny Fevers and Venus Flytraps have to make demo tapes, demonstrate knowledgeable use of the equipment, and cultivate a sickly complexion to prove their on-air worthiness. The cruel Phil will make the final decision.

The gang practices and practices, and they find that this dj-ing business isn't as easy as drinking lots of Surge and playing one's favorite Hootie record. Everyone giggles uncomfortably when confronted with the sound of his own voice. Nathan suddenly has the startling revelation that he "sounds like a redneck". Dave misguidedly asks someone to "set my Pearl Jam up". Whenever Lindsay says a peep, her shriek sends the needle into the red. When the kids receive critiques from the owlish Phil, it doesn't assuage their jitters one little bit, mes amis. We learn that Nathan confidently messed up the call letters of the station, and that Janet has some sexy snot in the back of her throat. Stephen is told that he had "a good start" (translation: he really sucked). Lindsay wins accolades for her "natural sound", and it turns out that she's had quite a bit of previous experience in radio.

Then the fun begins- the gang starts to get testy. Nathan snaps at Stephanie, who is gleefully pointing out his faulty delivery. Rebecca gets impatient with Dave's noodling on tape, but her impatience is well-ennunciated. Janet has a bout of self-loathing, and this aspiring journalism student says that she "sucks at this stuff". Irene learns that she lacks oomph and all that other exciting stuff. Dave breaks FCC regulations with his stinky old potty mouth.

Finally, it's time to turn in the demo tapes. Nathan volunteers the observation that the girls are working harder to be on the air, but he himself doesn't feel he needs to spend as much time on his demo. Do I sense the presence of Mr. Rationalization in the room, loves? Everyone is competitive; suddenly, one's entire self-image relies on whether one gets to introduce the damn "Resurrection Flashback Lunch", or not. When the deadline rolls around, both Nathan and Stephen are late, the former because he was busy making whoopee with his ladyfriend and the latter because he "missed the part of the conversation" that included the deadline.

ONLY READ THIS PART IF YOU DON'T WANT THE DECISION TO BE A SURPRISE! The kids are pacified with soda pop and snacks, and then Phil breaks the news. Basically, he makes the required "Tough Decision" speech, and then he barks, "Snap out of it!" The on-air team will consist of Lindsay, Irene, and Janet- an all-girl team. At the verdict, Rebecca looks ashen. Dave, ever Mr. Chivalry, says that he's "glad they got it". Stephen sulks dramatically in a corner, but doesn't want to talk about his obvious disappointment. Even when Kim, the program director tries to put a positive spin on the situation, Stephen doesn't relent. Nothing must distract him from his sulking!

The second storyline of this episode concerns the Endless Luv between Nathan and his long-distance appendage, Stephanie. Nathan loves Stephanie "so many different ways", which means he must be going through the Kama Sutra one page at a time. Variety is the spice of life, my sweets. Of course, Nathan and Irene, who've been rather violently flirting and wrasslin' with each other, must sublimate any feelings they have while Soon-to-be-Wifey visits. Irene assumes a wide-eyed, innocent stare for the camera while she utters morsels like, "I'm excited to meet Nathan's girlfriend" (oh, the one you disdained just a few weeks ago?) and "Stephanie shouldn't be threatened." Nathan warns us that roommates are "going to see the real Nathan" once Stephanie arrives. Surprisingly, no one threatens to leave the house.

So, the Girlfriend arrives, and the cooing couple hug interminably in the airport terminal. And then there's a bunch of mushy stuff that I tried to ignore. More nervous giggling. And Irene is always around- even in the bathroom while the lovebirds are closed up in one of the stalls. This strikes me as a little strange.

Stephanie and the omnipresent Irene hold lengthy intimate conversations, excluding the desperate Nathan without any attempt at subtlety. Nathan, as is his wont, gets drunk and mean and paranoid and tries to separate the two chatterboxes; evidently, he fears that they're comparing his inadequacies. Nathan finally bellows in an ape-like fashion, "Give me back my woman!" Stephanie, in her best prison-matron voice, tells him to go to bed. I think this marriage will be an incredible one, folks.

And, none too soon, it is time for farewells. Stephanie and Irene say their goodbyes. Stephanie and Nathan say their goodbyes, only a mite mushier. Nathan bellows that he's a-gonna marry that woman; without her, he feels like he's missing part of his body. We don't see, however, airport security scan Stephanie's bags for Nathan's kidney.

Number of times Dave appears shirtless: 0, but he does make love to the microphone.

The most annoying character? Nathan manages to be grabby, mushy, and pissy in this episode, so he wins this dubious honor. I have to warn you, though, when Stephen pouts at the end, it's enough to make me reach for a bottle.

Next time: The competition among the roomies changes from who can be the best dJ to who can be the best Sulky Sam or Pouty Patty. Plus, Janet snags herself a bo-hunk.


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